Anytime I see the names Ben Baker Billington or Andrew Scott Young, it takes me back to a decade ago when Tiger Hatchery were starting to unleash their hellskronk and Ben’s Quicksails project was just a baby. Both projects have come a hell of a long way since and now the two have joined forces on some stress-shredding bass and electronic duels for Ryley Walker’s Husky Pants label. Everything about that last sentence screams “Fuck yes!” if you hadn’t figured it out already.
Moon Mood jumps between a million alien landscapes with haphazard glee. Pairing upright bass and a host of screeching electronics is a combination that’s going to pull me in straight away. On the surface, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but it’s the strange combination of guttural, scraping drones and free jazz-infused bass workouts mixed with Billington’s bleeping, screeching electronic howl that is so interesting.
At times, it’s like they’re living on separate worlds, the bass bowed rapid fire like a machine gun tracing shapes in a concrete wall while electronics bubble up like a water feature in my garden. They always find their way back to a common language, though, and reveal, ultimately, that this has been a conversation in a secret tongue all along. Once that idea clicks, the game is on. Now I’m chasing behind as Young mines snarling drones and extracts the sound of bones rattling through heavy plucks and quick movement. Anytime you think you’ve caught up, think you’ve deciphered some shared dialect, Billington opens up a new terminal, dipping straight into a buzzing saw. This trip never stops.
I don’t know that I’ll ever figure Moon Mood out, but that’s a big part of the appeal. This is a strange record in all the ways I want it to be and props to Ryley Walker for issuing such a demanding, demented listen on his Husky Pants label. Whisker is a strange, wonderful beast.